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Kent batsman Daniel Bell-Drummond says stoic innings of 92 to earn a draw against Essex was the toughest innings of his career

By Alex Hoad

Daniel Bell-Drummond revealed his Championship-best, match-saving knock against Essex was the toughest innings of his career and came despite feeling out of touch with the bat.

After a dogged first-innings 56, the 20-year-old opener batted for almost five-and-a-half hours in the second innings to guide Kent from a first-innings deficit to a lead which proved large enough to get the captains to shake hands early on a draw.

Bell-Drummond faced 257 balls – many of them amidst aggressive field settings – but fell just eight runs short of a maiden Championship century after being trapped leg before by Kiwi Jesse Ryder.

Bell-Drummond admitted: “That’s the longest I have batted ever. I was pretty happy with that. It was needed at the time. If I could have scored quicker then I would have done.

“It was tough work. I didn’t feel my fluent best, I realised halfway through the first innings. I just tried to back my defence and put as high a price on my wicket as I could.

Daniel Bell-Drummond Picture: Barry Goodwin
Daniel Bell-Drummond Picture: Barry Goodwin

“I wasn’t feeling great but that was one of the reasons I was able to stay out there, I didn’t take any risks. I tried to play each ball on its merit and concentrate even harder than I would if I was in good touch.

“I wasn’t feeling on top of my game. I withdrew into my shell a bit more. Luckily it paid off. I had the plan in place and tried to execute it even though they were bowling well.

“It’s always tough but facing David Masters with his 2-7 field... I’ve never had anything like it. I just tried to control what I could and got a bit of luck.”

He added: “It was a brilliant education for me. It was one of the toughest sessions I’ve had, maybe the toughest, especially with the variety of bowlers they had, with Mills and Panesar, too.

“It was definitely one of my most important innings for Kent. It went a long way to saving the game.

“This and the first innings at Glamorgan last year – when I got 70-odd to help give us a slender lead and we won that game – are probably the two best I have had so far but hopefully there are more to come this year.

“I haven’t hit a Championship ton yet so I was desperate to get to that mark but hopefully it will come another day.”

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